Monday, June 14, 2010

NIEER early ed hot topics 6/14

The 'Great Recession' Will Give Millions of Kids a Tougher Row to Hoe
After the country begins to recover from the "Great Recession," many kids whose misfortune was to be young during it will suffer lasting impacts, says the latest report from the Foundation for Child Development's Child and Youth Well-Being Index. It predicts the number of children in poverty will rise to 15.6 million this year, a jump of three million in just four years. More families in poverty means more kids entering school without the benefit of high-quality early education. In five years, when they enter fourth grade, they'll likely have lower reading and math scores. In another decade, they'll be more likely to drop out of high school, says the report's author, Kenneth Land of Duke University.

GAO Finds a Decrease in Child Care Subsidy Usage
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that examined trends in child care subsidy receipt found that from 2006 to 2008, the average number of children served by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) declined by about 170,000 children, or 10 percent. Among the reasons cited for the decline are state policies that can affect resource allocation, decreases in the number of regulated providers, increased requirements for participating providers, and rising unemployment's effect on work-related eligibility.

LAUP Study Finds a Higher Rate of School Readiness
A study of kids who attended Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) classrooms found that after one year of pre-K, 72 percent of children tested for near proficiency in school readiness skills, including social expression and self-regulation, compared to 22 percent when they started. The gains were particularly significant for English Language Learners (ELLs). They started the year with lower school readiness skills than their non-ELL peers, but after a year of LAUP pre-K, the gap had closed.

Common Core Standards Completed; State Adoption Comes Next
Now that the K-12 Common Core Standards for Math and Reading have been completed, the push is on to get the states to adopt them. Already, a number of education groups, including the Council of State Governments and National Association of State Boards of Education, have joined the coalition urging adoption. While 48 states agreed to participate in the effort to create the standards, that did not obligate them to adopt them. Former New Jersey education commissioner Lucille Davy has been hired by the Hunt Institute to spearhead its outreach effort aimed at helping states make well-informed decisions regarding adoption.

Regular Bedtimes, Adequate Sleep Linked to Better Literacy, Math Skills in Pre-K
A study of 8,000 kids who were assessed at age 4 found that among sleep habits, having a regular bedtime was the most consistent predictor of better scores in receptive and expressive language, phonological awareness, literacy, and early math. The data also showed that many children are not getting the recommended amount of sleep. The findings were reported at SLEEP 2010, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends preschool children get a minimum of 11 hours of sleep each night.

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